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Full text of "Alaskan glacier studies of the National Geographic Society in the Yakutat Bay, Prince William Sound and lower Copper River regions"

VALDEZ AND SHOUP GLACIERS                               241
identification of the glacier mentioned by Abercrombie. We are, therefore, unable to state specifically what the glacial conditions in Port Valdez were even as late as 1884.
Valdez Glacier between 1898 and 1911. In 1898 Valdez Glacier became a highway of travel into the interior of Alaska,1 and from that date to the present we have definite knowledge about the general condition of the glacier. It is not known who was the first of the prospectors who made his way across the ice-filled pass of Valdez Glacier, on his way to the Klondike gold fields by the All-American route or to the Copper River valley, nor when the first traverse was made. Doubtless this first journey was made "before 1898, for during February, March and April of that year three thousand people landed at Valdez, and one or two thousand more came during the summer. Some prospectors had reached the summit of Valdez Glacier by April 15th, and before May 3rd 2000 men had crossed the pass and gone down the Klutena Glacier, while 1500 more were on their way.2 Mr. Charles Simonstad of Valdez who crossed the glacier in 1898 states that 5000 men landed that year, that 4500 crossed the glacier pass, and that all but two or three hundred of them returned that fall by the same route.
In April and May, 1898, some of the army detachments crossed the glacier pass several times. These men and the many prospectors encountered great hardships, "being unprepared for glacier travel; but the generally inactive condition of the glacier may be inferred from the fact that three or four thousand men were able to travel over it as a highway during 1898, to transport thousands of pounds of provisions and outfit, and even to take pack animals over the twenty-four miles of ice, twenty-three horses and mules being used by a single one of the army parties, and fourteen by another. The geologist Schrader and several of the army officers have described the glacier with its ice falls, benches, and crevasses, the descriptions and photographs by Schrader and the map by Mahlo showing conclusively that the surface and the position of the terminus have fluctuated only slightly between 1898 and 1909. The 1898 map shows the glacier terminus projecting farthest near the eastern side of the valley and two streams flowing to the fiord, one on the western side through Valdez, the other by way of Robe Lake. This map is reproduced as PI. XCV. A large photograph of the front of the glacier taken by J. H. Steiner on July 14, 1898, shows the western margin ending close to a distinctive talus cone on the mountain side, and exactly at, or within a few score feet, of the position of the same margin in 1909.
The second Copper River Exploring Expedition of the U. S. Army, in 1899, also under charge of Captain Abercrombie, gave little attention to the Valdez Glacier and very few prospectors crossed the glacier pass that year, although many had come back that way during the previous fall and winter. It was crossed by at least one army party,8 however, J. F. Rice going over the glacier and back again; and the-front was mapped by Lieut. W. C. Babcock, who also took many photographs of the ice front,
i Martin, Lawrence, Mastering the Alaskan Glacier Barriers, Scientific American Supplement, Vol. T.xxT, 1911, pp. 305-307; Alaskan Glaciers in Relation to Life, Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc., Vol. 45, 1913, pp. 801-818.
* Abercrombie, W. R., Reports of Explorations in the Territory of Alaska, 1898, War Dept., Adj.-Gen. Office, No. XXV, Washington, 1899, pp. 299-300, 304-309, 348-844, 353-354, 389-391, 894-401, 408-407, 421-428,433-435,451-452,454-455; also republished in Narratives of Explorations in Alaska, Washington, 1900.
Schrader, F. C., A Reconnaissance of a Part of Prince William Sound and the Copper River District, Alaska, in 1898, 20th Ann. Rept., U. S. Geol. Survey, Part VII, 1900, pp. 850-353, 355-356, 881-382.
' Rice, John F., In W. R. Abercrombie's Copper River Exploring Expedition, Alaska, 1899, Washington, 1900, pp. 55-57.                                        !                      ,
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